Sodexo Stops Hunger

Young Champions

By Peyton Medick
November 12th, 2012

Peyton Medick

For so many reasons 2012 has been AMAZING. Participating as an Olympic torch bearer was certainly among my top highlights, but another had to do with my work to fight hunger. It’s a cause that has been important to me even before creating my non-profit, Peyton’s Promise, which started as a simple food drive.

Thanks to Sodexo Foundation, I had the honor of being named a 2012 Stephen J. Brady STOP Hunger Scholarship recipient this summer.  I was honored and humbled to be put in the same category as so many other amazing youth volunteers. I loved hearing their stories and taking tips and ideas from them on how their organizations have become successful.

Like me, they believe that the importance of youth involvement in fighting hunger is HUGE. When I began my organization at 8 years old, many people did not think it could accomplish as much as it did – not even me!  Anyone of any age can truly make a difference. My little food drive has since grown into an incredible food distribution network that provides food supplies to pantries that reach 5,000 families each month!

The Stephen J. Brady STOP Hunger Scholarship has also made a huge impact in my local community. The $5,000 grant helped Covenant Community Presbyterian Church’s Food Pantry provide for the growing number of families that they serve. Just during this summer, the food pantry’s attendance went from 80 families per month to 300 families per month. The food pantry remained stocked throughout the summer thanks to this grant and its freezer has also been filled with frozen meat thanks to Sodexo Foundation. 

If you are a student working to fight hunger, especially childhood hunger, I encourage you to apply for the Stephen J. Brady STOP Hunger Scholarship.  It was an experience of a lifetime to be invited to Washington, D.C. where I received $5,000 for my education and another $5,000 grant for my local food pantry. Our community efforts to fight hunger would not be where they are today without the help of Sodexo Foundation and the Stephen J. Brady STOP Hunger Scholarship.

Ending hunger might seem like an Olympic feat, but as more youth volunteers take up the torch, we are bound to meet the challenge.

Peyton Medick (9th Grade) is the founder of Peyton’s Promise and a 2012 Stephen J. Brady STOP Hunger Scholarship recipient. Student volunteers fighting hunger can apply for the 2013 scholarship by visiting

Making Connections

By Rebecca Fawns
November 5th, 2012

Rebecca Fawns

Recently one 5th grader, Makayla, who participates in my Community Cooking Connections (CCC) program, told me how she takes home food each week to her grandmother and then helps teach her how to make a healthy meal for $2.00!  She said that really knowing how to shop, not just focusing on sales is a better strategy, it’s a lot more fun and it helps her eat better. She added that food banks help by giving “things” but learning to cook means she and her grandmother eat healthier no matter what food they have at home.

I’m so proud that a program I created is able to offer real-world lessons like this and help others in our area.

The Community Cooking Connections program is all about the important role youth can have in improving nutrition for young people in America.  Why do we let the youth run this program? Simple, the creativity that runs through youthful minds can help end hunger with a flare and lots of fun.

Community Cooking Connections has had a lot of support as well. I was recently selected as a Stephen J. Brady STOP Hunger Scholarship recipient, which in addition to providing $5,000 for my education awarded a grant for $5,000 to CCC.

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Those funds helped the program encourage families to help each other and provided a community resource for sharing food with each other – especially the kids.

As one of the national winners of this award, I also received an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. where I was able to meet with a number of fellow STOP Hunger Scholars – all doing amazing work.

Rebecca being presented with her scholarship by Sodexo chief operating officer and Education president, Lorna Donatone.

I would advise other students working to fight hunger to apply for this great scholarship, run by Sodexo Foundation. They are currently accepting applications through December 5, 2012.

It’s an amazing opportunity that allows you to help others recognize how vital it is for all of us to fight hunger in the United States. 

No child should go hungry – there is no reason for it.

The Stephen J. Brady STOP Hunger Scholarship offers one more way to help raise awareness about the issue and connect those in need to valuable resources.

When I think of committed youth like Makayla, sharing ideas with her grandmother, I’m convinced that their fresh ideas can make a difference in helping us solve the problem of hunger in the U.S.

Rebecca Fawns is the founder of Community Cooking Connections and a 2012 Stephen J. Brady STOP Hunger Scholarship recipient. Student volunteers fighting hunger can apply for the 2013 award through December 5th by visiting

Extreme Couponing for a Good Cause

By Ben Baxter
October 25th, 2012

Ben Baxter

At a Morristown, New Jersey Community Soup Kitchen (CSK) Youth Council meeting, a peer suggested the idea of collecting coupons to extend the purchasing power of donated funds. Although I was the lead in this effort, our team of ten Bernardsville Middle School students collaborated on the EXTREME COUPONING idea to get more “bang for our buck.”

This project and its experience were real eye-openers for me because I never fully realized how essential food donations were to CSK. After four years on CSK’s Youth Council and a 2011 trip to Ethiopia, a Third World country, I finally grasped HUNGER’s vast impact, not only in Morristown, our regional community, but also throughout the world. With input from fellow Youth Council members, I applied for and won the $500 Sodexo YSA monetary grant to augment our group’s impact.

We hope our Coupons Cubed project will serve as a springboard for future soup kitchen fundraisers; engaging community members and business owners may make for a win-win situation for other organizations as well. All in all, being part of the great GOOD done at the soup kitchen really pushed my peers and me to attempt great things, too, and we did make a difference.


Ben Baxter and his middle school class received a Sodexo Foundation Youth Grant from YSA (Youth Service America) to support their community project on Global Youth Service Day 2012. To date, Sodexo Foundation has awarded 127 grants for youth-led service projects addressing childhood hunger. Grant applications are open now; learn more at

Fighting Hunger in Chicagoland

By Emily Scammell
August 7th, 2012

Emily Scammell

Based out of a small, first-floor kitchen on the corner of Northwestern’s sprawling campus, the staff and volunteers of The Campus Kitchen at Northwestern University (CKNU) are working to make and deliver meals to close to 22,000 individuals in Evanston as part of this summer’s Feeding Our Future® program.  From busy summer camps with underprivileged children to packed homeless shelters with hungry residents, CKNU works hard to provide food to those who need it the most.

As a volunteer for CKNU this summer, I had a chance to gain an in depth look into the needs of the community and how CKNU was helping to fill it.  In addition to providing meals to children, the Campus Kitchen at Northwestern University and its volunteers are able to form a special connection to the people we serve and provide more than any meal could: companionship and compassion.  In this sense, our efforts are not just about making meals, but creating a hopeful future for our clients.  In recent weeks we have been lucky to be able to participate in a Feeding Our Future nutritional education event, with the Sodexo team at Northwestern University and Unilever, in helping to cultivate healthy choices in our youngest generation.

On July 24th at Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center, amongst 125 eager children and volunteers, we played nutrition-focused games – taste-testing whole grains and exotic fruits, and becoming “food scientists”, the children participating were able to gain an understanding of what essential nutrients will sustain their minds and bodies for healthy lives. 

Sodexo, Northwestern & Campus Kitchens "Feeding our Future." Click on the photograph for more images from the event.

By providing meals and being proactive in the community, CKNU hopes to establish a foundation for each child to create a rich and meaningful life.  However, without the ever-present support and contributions from Sodexo Foundation, Unilever, and the Sodexo team at NU, none of our efforts would be possible.  Their enthusiasm for their hunger-fighting efforts and dedication to nutritional education not only help us to continue to provide meals, but give the children we serve an excitement and energy for healthy living.

Much like Sodexo Foundation’s summer feeding program name, we are eager in not only “Feeding Our Future” in a physical sense, but in an emotional and cognitive manner, giving kids the tools they need for a wholesome childhood.

Emily Scammell is a rising senior and president of the Campus Kitchen at Auburn University. Emily is serving as an Americorps VISTA for the Campus Kitchen at Northwestern University during the Feeding Our Future summer program. 

Mineola Macaroni: Making a Difference

By Nancy Regan
May 29th, 2012

Nancy Regan

Thanks to Sodexo Foundation and YSA (Youth Service America), the students in my AP United States History Class at Mineola High School have been fortunate to participate in an extended service-learning program focusing on raising awareness and helping to fight the growing problem of childhood hunger.

The program, based at our school in New York, involved the students tracing the history of hunger in America and researching the depths of the problem in today’s society. The tables then turned, with the students actually teaching a number of 8th grade classes about their research and enlisting the 8th graders help in their service efforts.

There were two service initiatives. The first was a district-wide food drive to benefit Long Island Cares. During the week-long drive, 2,000 non-perishable food items were collected. Students developed innovative ways including “extreme couponing” to gather as much food as possible for donation.

The second, our largest initiative was called Mineola Macaroni Making a Difference. This was a Pasta Dinner to benefit the Mary Brennan Inn, the largest soup kitchen on Long Island which serves around 400 hot meals per day. Mineola Macaroni: Making a Difference was held on Thursday, March 29th. It was a huge success. Over 300 people attended and the students raised over $2,700.

Students at Mineola High School focused on raising awareness of childhood hunger and helping to fight the epidemic as well.

The students together with the faculty volunteers cooked and served dinner, displayed their research, and facilitated mini service projects during the evening. Working on this project and seeing the enthusiasm and dedication of my students to our efforts was one of the most rewarding experiences of my teaching career. We truly became a school community working together for the greater good and our community really supported our efforts. My students’ reflections illustrate the impact of the project and the importance of service-learning:

“I loved being a part of the project. I never knew how good it could feel to spend your time and energy to help a cause that you feel very strongly about. My eyes are opened… I hope to volunteer for the rest of my life!” Katie

“It was incredible being part of this long-term project and its fantastic results. “I never saw a group of high school students do anything like this. It was at this moment that I realized just how much I had contributed to something that really made a difference. It was something to really be proud of.”  Jill

“I’m inspired to continue to make the world a better place.” Janet

Students like Katie, Jill and Janet have inspired us all.

Nancy Regan is a social studies teacher at Minneola High School Garden City Park – a Sodexo Foundation School Engagement Grant Recipient.

Giving Back to the Communities We Serve

By Dr. Rohini Anand, Ph.D
May 15th, 2012

Dr. Rohini Anand, Ph.D

Sodexo’s annual Servathon brings together thousands of Sodexo employees to raise money, donate food, and serve meals in their local communities. This year I had the opportunity to participate in three very different Servathon events.  I joined Sodexo employees in Seattle at the Food Lifeline Food bank to pack cartons of corn – in one afternoon we packed over 77,000 lbs. of corn, a new record for the food bank! 

During that event I had the opportunity to meet Blaine Hirai, our partner from Hirai Farms, who donates over 1 Million pounds of locally grown produce every year. Most recently he donated 22,000 lbs. of potatoes to the Manna Food bank in Maryland.  Blaine also oversees the non-profit organization “Annie’s Fun” which was named for his mother and seeks to help those in need.  Annie’s Fun, in partnership with Sodexo, packed and donated 5 million pounds of food and rose over $100,000 for hunger relief.  Blaine, you are truly a champion for the hungry and it is an honor doing business with you! 

While I was in Seattle, the Sodexo Office of Diversity team was hosting its own Servathon event – a mini-food drive! While our office may not have a lot of people, everyone contributed and we were able to make a huge impact.  In just three days we compiled nearly 200 kid-friendly food items! 

The Sodexo Diversity & Inclusion team volunteering during Sodexo Servathon. Click on the photograph for a slide show of this worthwhile and rewarding event.

Most recently, the Office of Diversity team along with the Office of Sustainability joined forces with Women Who Care, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping those in need overcome hunger, domestic violence, homelessness and substance abuse. The Sodexo team spent a morning packing over 1,000 backpacks of food for local children at risk of hunger on the weekends. It was fantastic to step outside of our normal routine and make a contribution to the larger community.  Special thanks to Judith Clark and the Women Who Care staff for making our visit so memorable and impactful – you do amazing work and we were proud to be a part of it for the day!

Giving back to the communities we serve is so important – I am proud to be part of an organization that supports and encourages involvement at all levels in the fight against hunger!        

Dr. Rohini Anand is the senior vice president and global chief diversity officer at Sodexo.

A Force of Wills

By Robert A. Stern
April 11th, 2012

I will...

Most of us want to help when we see or hear of people in need, but often we simply feel too overwhelmed. This is especially true when considering the issue of hunger in America where 49 million people – 16 million children, are not always sure about where their next meal will come from. We don’t feel like we can possibly make a dent in what seems like an insurmountable problem. The fact is, none of us can do it all alone, but together even the smallest of individual efforts done in collaboration with others can be a tremendous force for change.

But, where do you start? It all begins with just two simple words: “I will…” That’s exactly how Sodexo is encouraging action this month.

Every April, Sodexo holds its annual Servathon event, which engages employees, clients, vendors and customers to volunteer time effort and expertise tackling hunger in their local communities and holding fundraisers to support area hunger-releif organizations. For 2012 it kicked off its “I will…” campaign, asking 125,000 employees in North America to make a simple statement about what they will do for Servathon and then post it to the company’s STOP Hunger database.

For every statement that is posted to the STOP Hunger database French’s Foodservice, a longtime vendor partner to Sodexo, is donating $5 to Sodexo Foundation – up to $5,000 to help end childhood hunger in America.  In addition the supplier is also donating up to an additional $10,000 to Sodexo Foundation when Sodexo client sites order preselected French’s products between March 1 and April 30, 2012.

“I will” has been extremely successful in engaging a great number of pledges for Servathon. Here is a very small sample of the many that have already been submitted:

I will provide after-school snacks to school-aged children. – Frances

I will recruit 10 employees to enroll in payroll deductions. – Charmion

I will donate non-perishables to my local food pantry. – Allyson

I will coordinate a food drive and collect $32,000 lbs of food and raise $4,500. – Jonathan

I will sort and repackage food at a food bank. – Bob

            I will double my payroll giving to Sodexo Foundation. – Shondra

Sodexo employees continue to make “I will” statements in support of Servathon every day. For anyone reading this post that hasn’t already made and posted a commitment, I hope this inspires you to do so today.

Imagine the force of will and the impact of 125,000 Sodexo employees in North America or 413,000 Sodexo employees worldwide in 80 countries working to beat hunger. Post something today. I will. Will you?

Robert A. Stern is senior vice president and general counsel for Sodexo, Inc. and president of the Sodexo Foundation, which supports innovative programs to help children and families in the United States who are at-risk of hunger. 

A Voice of Hope

By Julia Pipkins
February 23rd, 2012

For pictures of Julia's work, click here.

I felt so honored to be selected by Sodexo as one of its eight 2011 Heroes of Everyday Life® for my volunteer work. In return, my husband and I were able to travel to Washington, DC to share my experience with fellow colleagues and politicians alike. The entire experience blew us away. A high point of the trip was having a chance to visit Capitol Hill and share our stories of fighting hunger in our communities with our senate and congressional leaders.

The main event, the 12th Annual Sodexo Foundation Dinner, was nothing short of phenomenal. It was amazing to hear the stories of all the Sodexo Heroes of Everyday Life® and the Stephen J. Brady STOP Hunger Scholarship recipients, and how they are giving back to their communities. I was humbled by the generosity of all the vendors that donate to Sodexo Foundation. With their help, the foundation raised $1 million dollars to fight hunger in that one evening.

It was a great feeling to be up on stage and recognized in front of more than 930 people, but I would like to think of the award as an acknowledgement of the hard work done by volunteers at the Voice of Hope – an organization that provides the children of West Dallas with spiritual guidance and family support services including the delivery of food boxes. Of course, the greatest part of the entire experience is that the $5,000 grant I received will go to the hunger organization of my choice. I’m excited to say that it will go to the Voice of Hope.

The need for support provided by the Voice of Hope in West Dallas is ongoing, and this grant provides countless nutritious meals for youth and their families in that community.

I would like to thank Sodexo Foundation for this grant which will go a long way in fighting hunger in the West Dallas community. I feel honored to be a part of Sodexo’s STOP Hunger Initiative, and now that the nomination period is open for 2012 Heroes of Every Day Life, I encourage managers, friends and family members to turn the spotlight onto the work of new Sodexo Heroes. So many are doing so much to feed our children and their work is also worthy of recognition.

Julia Pipkins is senior instructional designer for Sodexo University. She has helped over 700 low-income families through her own initiative and her work with the Voice of Hope.. If you know of a Sodexo employee doing amazing work in fighting hunger, they could be chosen to be one of Sodexo’s Heroes of Everyday Life®. Click here for more information.

Win a $5,000 Scholarship for College

By Amy and Emma Bushman
November 14th, 2011

We are Amy and Emma Bushman, the founders of Bake Me Home, and the recipients of a 2011 Stephen J. Brady STOP Hunger Scholarship

We were really happy when we found out we won the Stephen J. Brady STOP Hunger Scholarship last year. We were literally in shock and could not stop smiling!

The money we won for Bake Me Home will help us expand to help more families. The money we won for college makes us really proud that we are helping add to our college account when we are only ten.

If you’re making a difference helping hungry people in your community, tell the Sodexo Foundation about it. You could be selected as one of this year’s national STOP Hunger Scholars.  

Now is the time to apply! Your local charity will get a $5,000 grant and you’ll get to put the same amount away for college. Don’t wait – the application deadline is December 5, 2011!

PS: Watch us on YouTube! We might only be ten, but we plan to keep running Bake Me Home with our kids when we grow up.

Amy & Emma are 2011 Stephen J. Brady STOP Hunger Scholarship award winners.

Sustaining the Cause

By Robert A. Stern
November 9th, 2011

Bob Stern, president of the Sodexo Foundation

A few weeks ago I attended the 2011 Conference of Leaders in Baltimore, hosted by Share Our Strength. I met a lot of extremely motivated individuals in the fight against hunger.  It was particularly gratifying to see Sodexo Chef Robert Murnan presented with an award for his outstanding work and leadership with Cooking Matters Omaha.

During the conference I also had an opportunity to preview a collaborative effort by Share Our Strength and YSA (Youth Service America) to develop a new online youth action center dubbed No Kid Hungry 2. It was developed with funding provided by the Sodexo Foundation and debuts on the first anniversary of No Kid Hungry. The site, which goes live today at, aims to engage youth in the national anti-hunger movement by encouraging and educating a new generation of passionate and dedicated young leaders who will advocate for this cause among their school peers and friends. 

No Kid Hungry 2 is feature and resource-rich, with two main sections: Kids Kick Hunger for those under 13 years old and Leaders Tackle Hunger for ages 13 and above. Age-appropriate content and resources will be posted to each section, enabling young people to organize volunteer activities, launch advocacy efforts and raise awareness in their schools and local neighborhoods about childhood hunger in America.

A look at the new website. Click on the picture to check it out.

The site’s integration of social media tools offers powerful means for connecting young people all over the U.S., while also providing them with the ideas and resources they need to be effective change agents in their own communities. I like to think of No Kid Hungry 2 as a “brain trust of youth hunger champions.”

In opening his speech at Conference of Leaders, Share Our Strength chairman and CEO, Billy Shore used a humorous anecdote about his six year old son warning a fellow beach toddler about the temporal nature of sand castles, observing that they are never there in the morning. Shore went on to tell the audience that unlike those unsustainable structures, Share Our Strength, with the help of its many supporters, has put into place a solid foundation built around multiple platforms guaranteeing that its work and efforts will endure well beyond the next sunrise.

No Kid Hungry 2 is just one such platform upon which the work of fighting childhood hunger will advance. It will be instrumental in helping bring food to, as Shore put it, “the most vulnerable and the least responsible for the position they are in” – children.

Please share the link for No Kid Hungry 2 and empower the young people in your life to uplift their peers.

Robert A. Stern is senior vice president and general counsel for Sodexo, Inc. and president of the Sodexo Foundation, which supports innovative programs to help children and families in the United States who are at-risk of hunger.